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Military desegregation

The article ``Jesse Jackson wades in,'' Oct. 14, errs in stating that ``it was a liberal victory in 1947 when the military was desegregated by order of President Truman.'' Actually, it was July 26, 1948, that President Truman signed Executive Order 9981. The US Army itself did not begin to comply with this executive order until the Korean war, and it took some time for it to be fully implemented.

During mid-1952 my former unit, the 77th Engineer Combat Company, having become the last black combat unit of the US Army to engage an enemy of the United States, was deactivated. In 1954 the very last black unit, the 94th Engineer Battalion, was integrated.

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A few months ago, Secretary of the Army John Marsh began to take the last few steps toward fully complying with President Truman's order.

He ordered significant corrections to be made to the official Korean war history to properly record the 24th Infantry's combat performance.

It is quite possible that Secretary Marsh will soon make a belated award of the Presidential Unit Citation to this last black regiment for its singular performance astride the Han River, near Seoul, on March 7, 1951, as well as acknowledging that the 24th Infantry won the initial Korean war victory for the United States at Yechon on July 20-21, 1950.

Probably sometime during 1990 the Department of the Army will finally have complied with President Truman's 1948 executive order. David Carlisle Los Angeles

Civilian or officer? The article ``In debate on reform of military, Bush and Dukakis are silent,'' Oct. 19, states that the Justice Department has charged ``Pentagon officers'' with accepting payoffs from defense contractors.

Although the use of the word ``officers'' is technically correct in the context, the majority of readers will come away with the impression that military officers were the culprits.

In fact, the Department of Defense personnel under investigation are all civilian appointees.

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This clarification is important to avoid slandering an innocent group of professionals. Henry Goddard Jr. Colorado Springs, Colo. Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

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